Honor Mahoney, EUObserver
Germany's discomfort with deploying its troops abroad was once more on display on Monday (31 May) after the country's president was forced to resign following strong criticism for comments he made linking military intervention with defence of economic interests.
Becoming the first German federal president to resign from the largely ceremonial post, Horst Koehler in a televised press conference said he was resigning with immediate effect.
"It was an honor for me to serve Germany as president," he said. "I thank the many people in Germany who have put their trust in me and supported my work. I ask for you to understand my decision."
The move followed an interview he gave to Deutschland Radio Kultur on 22 May in which he underlined the importance of national debate on Germany's military presence in Afghanistan after visiting the war-torn country where Germany has 4,500 troops as part of a Nato-led force.
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German president resigns after millitary comments